Chase Claypool had a big game for the Pittsburgh Steelers last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Part of that was because the defense was not keying on him the way I’m sure other defenses will be doing in the future, at times leaving a linebacker in on a primary coverage responsibility, and he was able to make them pay.
The Cleveland Browns are the first team to face the Steelers and Claypool since his ‘coming out’ party, during which he was targeted 11 times, catching seven passes for 110 yards. Three of them ended up in the end zone and a fourth touchdown came via the run.
As an aside, for a 6’4” wide receiver with ups, it’s pretty interesting that his first four touchdowns all came through yards after the catch—even a goal-to-go- score came with a three-man blocking screen in front of him. But I am digressing here.
B.J. Goodson is one of the Browns’ chief linebackers. Will he be drawing coverage responsibilities on Claypool at all? I’m sure the Steelers will be looking to try to get him into those matchups to take full advantage of his frame and speed.
“That is all in the gameplan as far as how we will handle those things”, he told reporters last week. “Definitely have to be aware of those matchups and things of that nature and making sure we have guys in the right position so that we can challenge them on those plays”.
One of the primary players who will be covering Claypool is Terrance Mitchell, the cornerback who has been starting in place of the injured Greedy Williams. He told reporters that he’s seen some of the rookie’s highlights. “He made some catches”, he allowed. “As a whole, their receivers, they are good receivers, but we have to just do our job and we will win”.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods, too, was not overreacting in placing a great deal of emphasis on gameplanning around a wide receiver heading into the fifth game of his career. “We are definitely paying attention to him, but they have some other weapons”, he said.
“That is one thing playing against these guys is tough. You look across the board – all the receivers, the backs and the tight ends – they have matchup concerns all over the field”, Woods continued. “We have to do a good job of really executing our techniques and mixing up the coverages but at the same time, having the ability to take away a few guys if we need to”.
All of Steeler Nation is waiting to see what Claypool can do for an encore performance. He currently has 13 receptions on the season for 261 yards and five total touchdowns, including four receiving scores. But he’s not slipping under anybody’s radar from this point forward.